The beautiful St Mary’s Church in Perivale Lane where Rena has enjoyed many musical recitals was the setting for her 100th birthday reception. Family and friends from the many areas of her life mingled midst beautiful flowers to toast Rena, enjoy her spectacular birthday cake and admire her card from King Charles and his wife.
Her nephew spoke fondly of his early memories of his aunt and we were reminded of modest Rena’s many achievements. As a graduate of St Andrew’s University, she went straight into the ranks of Bletchley Park and its secret war work. After the war she was sent to Germany to help translate Hitler’s will. The times in Bletchley Park and Germany had to remain secret so it was no mean feat that Rena became one of the pioneering women producers in the BBC World Service. She has featured in several television documentaries about these times in recent years and a representative from Bletchley Park came to thank her for her service to the country. I also met one of her former staff who said what a great boss she was.
Rena has been involved in St Andrew’s church for many years as an elder and in many other roles. She led the Scottish Country Dance group and one of the former members heard about her birthday and came along. Apart from her dancing prowess, it appears that Rena was famous for the Scottish cakes and delicacies she and her sister Isobel used to make for Burns Suppers and other festive occasions.
Rena’s birthday party was a joyous occasion. There were many members of St Andrew’s, past and present who had gathered from different parts of the country to celebrate, all of them marvelling at how well Rena looks and sharing their memories.
On behalf of us all, thank you, Rena for a wonderful afternoon.
Picture by Jamie McCoan shows Rena with Revd Sue McCoan.